Hansen took his racing career from dirt to asphalt to North Carolina before coming back to Wisconsin
By Joe Verdegan
Green Bay native Scott Hansen’s racing career spanned three decades and included big wins and track championships on both dirt and asphalt ovals.
Hansen, now 59, been retired from racing for several seasons and has owned his own trucking company for the past 10 years. He’s lived in Milwaukee full time since 1990. Hansen hasn’t climbed behind the wheel in an asphalt Late Model since 2001. Two years ago he competed in an ASA Midwest Tour Truck race.
The son of longtime Green Bay area flagman Rollie Hansen, Scott and his brother David went in on a race car together in 1974, an AMX that David drove at the Brown County Fairgrounds in De Pere. In 1975 Hansen made a very spectacular splash into his racing career at Seymour Speedway on the old half-mile.
Something broke on Hansen’s mount heading into turn one. The car smashed through the guardrail and literally landed between two parked spectator cars located just outside the turn one retaining wall.
One year later in 1976 Hansen piloted a Chevy Nova, with support from Olympia beer. While Hansen did well with that car he did not set the world on fire. It wasn’t until the following year when Scott’s uncle Curt Hansen purchased a used Boyce Trackburner chassis from Gene Wheeler. The car was driven occasionally by Jim Courtney.
Hansen netted the biggest win of his career in a 50 lap feature at Luxemburg Speedway.
“The trophy was so tall we had to lay it down in our bus, which was our hauler at the time,” Hansen recalled. “That was like hitting the lottery. It was huge. It was really hard to pass. I held off J.J. Smith and Whitey Harris for the win that night.”
Hansen raced often that year, wheeling the car Saturday nights at Shawano Speedway, Sunday nights at De Pere, and quickly became a frontrunning car against the likes of J.J., Jerry Smith, Roger Regeth and Roger Paul. He even dabbled on the asphalt a tad at Wisconsin International Raceway in Kaukauna. Little did Hansen know that he would experience great success later in his career at the D-shaped, half-mile, paved oval.
In 1978 Hansen took the year off from racing, but came back a year later driving for the Luebke Brothers out of the Fox Valley. Hansen raced weekly at WIR on Thursday nights, and still wheeled the car at De Pere and Shawano. That year he began spreading his wings a bit on the tar, and also competed at shows at Slinger Super Speedway and Norway (MI) Speedway as well.
The following year Hansen purchased an asphalt Late Model from Tom Lacosse of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and focused his time and effort exclusively on the pavement. In addition to WIR weekly on Thursday nights Hansen competed often at Norway and even at the UP state fairgrounds in Escanaba, Michigan. It was a tough year at WIR in 1980, as the feature lineup often looked like a “who’s who” of Midwestern short track racing.
Future NASCAR Winston Cup champion Alan Kulwicki won the Thursday night crown, with the likes of Ted Musgrave, Al Schill, Tony Strupp, Johnny Ziegler and Terry Baldry chasing him on a weekly basis. Much of Hansen’s season was spent in the semi-feature as a field of well over 40 late models was on hand each night.
A year later Hansen decided to dabble in both tar and asphalt, and fielded a car for both surfaces. It was during this time the machines on two different surfaces evolved into two totally different animals. In 1982 Hansen teamed up with dirt Late Model national Hall of Famer Pete Parker of Kaukauna. The pair netted wins across northeast Wisconsin, wheeling radical-looking wedge-type late models. The cars had long noses and huge rear plexiglass spoilers. The machines were exotic looking.
Hansen’s last year racing dirt was 1982, as in 1983 he acquired significant sponsorship from Marler Insurance agency of Green Bay and took to the pavement full time. He ran the ARTGO series, where he was the 1984 rookie-of-the-year.
Hansen proved to be a dominant force on Thursday nights at WIR, winning five straight track titles from 1985 to 1989. He flew the Budweiser colors with some corporate sponsorship from Anheuser-Busch of St. Louis and Dean Distributing locally. Among his arch rivals each weeknight hailed from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the “Hyde Hustler” Bob Iverson. Iverson played bridesmaid to Hansen three of those five championship years.
An intense rivalry brewed between the two over the years, but the two remained friends.
“Bob’s a great guy,” Hansen said.
From there, Hansen packed his bags and moved from Titletown to Milwaukee, where he began driving full time on the ASA circuit for Baker Motorsports, Gerry Gunderman and Fanetti Motorsports. He was the 1989 ASA rookie-of-the-year.
Hansen became a five-time winner at the famed Milwaukee Mile. He also netted victories in the $10,000-to-win ARTGO Dixieland Challenge at WIR and the National Short Track championships at Rockford (IL) Speedway.
The height of Hansen’s career was in 1999 when he moved to Charlotte, North Carolina to drive Kenny Schrader’s AC Delco NASCAR Craftsman Truck. Hansen also made two spot ARCA starts in 1991 at Daytona and Atlanta.
Hansen’s biggest payday was a Hooters Cup win at Lakeland, Florida in 1993.
“It paid $25,000 so that was a big one,” Hansen said.
Among other wins that stand out were ASA victories at road courses at Topeka, Kansas and Brainerd, Minnesota.
He also made a handful of Busch Series starts, with a 16th place finish at Gateway Motorsports Park in 1998.
I’ve kept myself so busy with the trucking I don’t let myself get wrapped up in the racing drama,“ Hansen said. “I’ve got five trucks full time on the road and that keeps me plenty busy.”
(This article first appeared in the July 2014 issue of Full Throttle magazine.)